Let the games begin. 2010 is shaping up to be an Epic year in Formula 1. Alonso is at Ferrari, Michael Schumacher has returned, but is racing for Mercedes, Jenson Button has moved to McLaren and there are three new teams. Of course they will all be terrible, but new teams are always exciting. You need back marker teams. They are basically the minor leagues of F1 and that’s where the new guys get their start most of the time.
And so, to the first race of the season. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is the favorite in many circles for the World Driver’s Championship. He started on pole. Felipe Massa made a triumphant return from that crash that nearly killed him in Hungary last year and started second. And the lovely and talented Fernando Alonso started third. Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren started fourth and Nico Rosberg rounded out the top five. Michael Schumacher started seventh. Not bad. Not bad at all when you consider he last raced in Formula One in 2006.
I was nervous about the start because they have banned refueling this year and with all those super heavy cars (carrying about 300 pounds of fuel) slip sliding around I was expecting accidents galore. But I was wrong about that. (I often am).
There was a lot of attrition. The new teams did not fare very well. Both HRT cars and both Virgin Racing cars were out barely before they began. I feel bad for them. It will be hard for them to find sponsors if they can’t even finish a lap. Both Lotus cars at least finished, which is great and really the best they could hope for but it’s discouraging.
The race was not terribly interesting, except for one thing. Alonso won! It makes me so happy to see him back on the top step of the podium where he belongs. I’d say he was pretty happy too.
Massa came in second. That is amazing considering what happened to him last year, and that Lewis Hamilton was third. Michael Schumacher finished 6th, and when you think about it finishing sixth after thee years away from the sport is pretty impressive.
A two week break now, and then the Australian Grand Prix. I already can’t wait.